Samsung is rumored to be testing its next-generation chips, with sources from China saying that the new design offers some very impressive performance gains.
Samsung’s next generation of Exynos chips are expected to feature version number 8995, and according to rumors coming from Chinese manufacturers, the new silicon is blindingly fast. Vague mutterings on the internet suggest the new Exynos 8995, supposedly built on a 10nm FinFET process, can hit a top speed of 4GHz right now. According to the same rumor, that impressive performance draws the same amount of power as the Snapdragon 830, another unconfirmed chip, draws for only 3.6GHz. In other words, Samsung’s next Exynos chips may be either very powerful, or offer great power efficiency, or much more likely, Samsung will try to hit the sweet spot between those two features.
Now before you start saving up for next year’s Galaxy S8, the first device expected to feature the Exynos 8995, here are a few reasons why you should take this info with a cargo ship worth of salt. First off, the move to the 10nm manufacturing process, while likely, is still very tricky. Intel was supposed to make the switch this year, but instead, pushed back its products and introduced a stop-gap generation of processors, because building 10nm chips proved to be more difficult than expected. The same thing is likely happening inside the mobile chip industry at Samsung and other manufacturers, so 10nm chips are by no means a sure thing even in next year’s flagship devices.
Secondly, the industry is just coming to grips with the 14nm chips that have been shipping this year. The cutting edge Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors are the first widely available chips built at this scale, and in theory there’s room for improvement, so another generation built on the same process might be in the cards.
Finally, these numbers, even if they’re real don’t mean that much. Even if both Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830, and Samsung’s new, better, Exynos chip are built on the 10nm FinFET process, the speeds we see in artificial tests have little to do with the way a chip performs when encased in a real device. Architecture, power consumption, firmware, heat dissipation, all of these aspects are much more important than pure speed when it comes to a processor.
So, all in all, while the rumors are indeed interesting, and we’re hoping that all manufacturers finally make the jump to a 10nm manufacturing process next year, that’s by no means a sure thing, and doesn’t necessarily equate to huge changes for end-users.